Spoilers ahead for The Cabin in the Woods:
Every great film has a conscience, a moral center. It’s usually the scrappy underdog hero or the wise old grandmother. They hammer home the piece’s themes and remind us what we’re all supposed to have learned. Many of those stories have an ego, as well. These are your Captain Kirks and your Batmen, characters who have to make the hard choices without taking refuge in cold logic or mushy emotion. It’s this thankless third path that often complicates things a bit, and while the ego’s cynical outlook can make it tough to cheer them on, it does give them the instincts and dexterity to get shit done in those real moments of truth. In the end, we root for that. We root for Steve Hadley and Gary Sitterson, the characters played by Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins in Drew Goddard’s The Cabin in the Woods. They’re not the heroes, but they are right. They are just. They do make the hard choices. While those characters certainly live on the page (dripping with that trademark Whedonesque snark), it’s Whitford and Jenkins’ fluid and confident performances that elevate the Shadowy Underground Operations Managers into truly memorable horror personalities.